Bob and Roberta Smith to tour Tower Hamlets for stories of Old Flo

By Culture24 Reporter | 11 January 2013
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A photo of a male artist in a hat leaning against a wall with colourful writing daubed on it
Artist Bob and Roberta Smith should provide an unusually inspiring public consultation in London© John Cooper

One of the country’s most mischievous and popular artists, Bob and Roberta Smith, has launched a pop-up display which will encourage the public to share their views on the contentious sale plans surrounding Henry Moore's Draped Seated Woman.

Old Flo, as the work has been affectionately named for decades, is the subject of a Museum of London consultation, inviting people in Tower Hamlets to discuss the meaning of the sculpture.

Henry Moore wanted the people of Tower Hamlets to be able to enjoy his work,” declared Sharon Ament, the museum’s Director, who said the statue’s original post-war position, in the Stifford Estate, was a “mark of the value” afforded to the way “everyday people” lived.

“This is why we maintain the importance of the sculpture being on permanent, free public display at the Museum of London Docklands or a similar space.

“She was seen to be a symbol of the resilience of post-war London, a symbol that has great resonance today.

“This project will help everyone get a true sense of what the East End community think about the sale of Old Flo.”

Council officials have pondered selling the work in order to raise vital funds, but the museum has offered to give it a permanent home on public display.

“I’m excited to hear people’s stories,” said Bob and Roberta, the alias of the reliably down-to-earth Patrick Brill.

“Old Flo is an image of a woman sheltering from an air-raid, so I am interested to hear wartime stories about people trying to shelter from the Blitz.

“I’m also interested to hear from young people – do they think Old Flo represents an image of peace or non-violence for people who don’t remember the war?”

Brill will give an artwork based on the sessions to the museum's current exhibition, Henry Moore and the East End.

Tour schedule:


Stifford Centre, Stepney Green January 10 2pm-4pm
Oxford House, Bethnal Green January 17 3pm
Tower Hamlets, College January 18 1pm
Poplar Recreation Ground January 18 1.30pm
Chrisp Street Market January 18 2pm 
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